Bishop Victor (Kotsaba): Coronavirus should not deprive us of love for God

20 March 2020 14:12
Bishop Victor of Baryshevka. Photo: KP in Ukraine Bishop Victor of Baryshevka. Photo: KP in Ukraine

The situation with COVID-19 poses serious questions for believers – what faith in Christ means for us and what we should sacrifice for it, the UOC hierarch believes.

Nothing should bar believers from their love for God, and in the situation with the coronavirus, they should do the same as always – pray and strive for Christ, Who is most valuable in this world. The vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka wrote about this in the article “Should I be in the Eucharistic quarantine?” on the pages of the I-Korrespondent online publication.

According to the hierarch, modern Christians must answer one of the most serious questions – what the faith in Christ means for us and what we are willing to sacrifice for it.

“It used to be easier,” he said. “Not because the questions posed were insignificant, but because the answers to them were unequivocal. Indeed, in the ancient Church, a person who called himself a Christian signed a death sentence for himself. Neither family, nor ties, nor money, nor wealth could belittle his determination to die for Christ. The Christian knew what he was going for; he knew what awaited him. Although he was apprehensive for his temporary earthly life, he nevertheless made a choice in favor of eternal life."

Choosing Christ, the hierarch explained, the Christian agreed with everything this choice implied – with persecution, harassment, torment, torture and death. “Was he afraid? Yes. But still faith was stronger. The only thing that consoled him was a living, real connection with God through the Sacrament of Communion. To take away from the first Christians the opportunity to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ meant to take away the sense of their life, because without Christ everything would crumble into nothing, into dust.”

“Today we live in a different time and in a different society,” Vladyka Victor stated. “Modern society is a consumerism one. Its main achievements are prosperity, peace, well-being. Its main goal is to seek happiness in the earthly, mercantile sense of the word. Hence, significant importance is attached to health issues and anxiety about whatever posing threat to man’s life. Belief in God, the highest values, such as love for one’s neighbor, love for one’s homeland, mercy and compassion, fade in the face of concrete, instant, tangible well-being. It is more important because it is 'here and now' and does not require any kind of supernatural effort. It is enough to reach out and take what the world offers ..."

At the same time, God, the Church and faith offer a person something immeasurably greater, which requires, however, an effort and moral change being shunned by people “simply because they do not want to change their life or exert themselves. It’s more convenient to live the way one lives and die at haphazard.”

“What should we, believing people, do in this situation? The same thing that we always did: pray and strive for Christ. Nothing should stand in our way of loving God – neither death, nor persecution, nor sorrow, nor ... coronavirus. The most precious thing in this world for us is our Lord Jesus Christ. By participating in the Eucharist, we allow eternity into our temporal dimension; we become partakers of the Divine and inheritors to the eternal and inalienable blessings. The Sacrament of Body and Blood is the Sacrament of life, it is a victory over death and the only way to the Resurrection. Upon that – the absence of fear, the strengthening of faith and the restoration of the image and likeness of God in man. Only with God we can live as humans, and only through the Eucharist we can carry out our ultimate calling – to be children of the King of Heaven,” concluded Bishop Victor of Baryshevka.

As reported by the UOJ, previously Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) called the coronavirus a test for patriotism.

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